DOJ Announces $2.4M in Grants to Fight IP Piracy and Theft
United States Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., stressing that the protection of intellectual property is important to the nations economy, announced Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Justice is granting more than $2.4 million to 13 jurisdictions to fight piracy and theft of intellectual property.
The money will be used to enforce, investigate, prosecute and prevent IP crimes, according to the Justice Department. These new investments are coming at a critical time, Holder said in a statement. As our country continues to recover from once-in-a-generation economic challenges, the need to defend IP rightsand to protect Americans from IP thefthas never been more urgent.
In the past three years, the DOJ has granted more than $10 million to 34 law enforcement agencies to tackle IP theft, the agency said. The new award money will be used to pay for new police department positions specifically tasked with investigating IP crime, as well as to develop and implement more law enforcement and prosecutor training programs.
The theft of intellectual property is believed to cost American businesses and individuals millions of dollars. This includes the illegal copying of copyrighted books, movies, and other materials; the sale of counterfeit goods; and the theft of technology and trade secrets.
This effort by the government is the latest attempt to curb this illegal activity. In January, for example, the Justice Department charged two corporations and seven individuals with operating an international organized criminal enterprise responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works through Megaupload.com and other related sites. In March, federal law enforcement agencies said they disrupted a conspiracy to import into the United States more than $300 million in counterfeit goods from China and illegal drugs from Taiwan.
The government is also trying to crack down on the theft of trade secrets, counterfeit pharmaceuticals, auto, and military parts, the Justice Department said. Earlier this year, for example, two people were charged with seeking to export U.S. military technology to China. IP theft is not a victimless crime, Holder said. It can devastate lives and business as well as undermine our nations financial stability, jeopardize the health of our citizens, and even threaten our national security.
A report released earlier this year [PDF] by the U.S. Department of Commerce stressed the importance of intellectual property to the U.S. economy. It said IP-intensive industries create 27.1 million jobs and indirectly support 12.9 million jobs in the U.S.
The jurisdictions receiving the newly announced DOJ grants include: Austin, TX.; Baltimore County, MD.; Central Point, OR.; Cook County, IL.; Orlando, FL.; Riverside County, CA.; the Los Angeles City Attorneys Office; the New York County District Attorneys Office; Sacramento County, CA.; San Antonio, TX; the California Department of Justice; the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department; and the Virginia State Police.